NEW YORK, United States — The vibrant aesthetic and larger-than-life personality of W Magazine editor-at-large Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert has won her over 671,000 Instagram followers. So it should come as little surprise that the release of her first book would be on anything but a grand scale.
Battaglia Engelbert has joined forces with Bergdorf Goodman this month for the launch of “Gio_Graphy: Fun in the Wild World of Fashion”, ahead of its global release in October. The partnership will comprise of a pop-up shop celebrating emerging Italian fashion talent, a store window takeover, and a t-shirt collection inspired by the book.
“It was a natural evolution,” says Battaglia Engelbert of the collaboration. “I’ve known Linda [Fargo, Bergdorf Goodman’s senior vice president of the fashion office and store presentation] for many years, so I showed her the book when it was done and we were talking about doing something together and it was a very real and organic way of working.”
Both the pop-up shop and windows will pay homage to Battaglia Engelbert’s Italian heritage, working with the Italian Trade Commission to feature Autumn/Winter collections by her favourite Italian labels. “I’m an Italian living in New York, so for me it felt natural to support Italian fashion in New York,” Battaglia Engelbert tells BoF. “Of course there is a lot of Gucci, because Gucci is having such a huge moment now, but we also wanted to support younger, emerging Italian brands too.”
The pop-up will also sell six slogan t-shirts created especially for the partnership, including a limited edition crystal t-shirt made by Swarovski. The slogans play on the humorous tone of the book, with phrases like “More is More” and “Fashion Emergency”— the latter of which even caught the attention of Mattel, Battaglia Engelbert reveals. “Now they’re doing a Barbie with the t-shirt ‘Fashion Emergency’,” she says. “I’ve loved Barbie since I was six years old, and now I have a Barbie!”
For Bergdorf Goodman, a collaboration of this kind represents a new way to draw customers into the store. “We are relying on bringing both the ‘personality’ and the ‘personal’ to retail,” Fargo says. “It was a highly unusual decision for us to turn over our windows and develop a pop-up during New York Fashion Week, but we felt strongly about Giovanna's essence as a happy antidote to the physical store retail malaise.”
“Now, more than ever, serious fashion and the business of fashion needs a poke in the ribs, some self deprecation, an injection of fun,” adds Fargo. “No one does that more naturally than Giovanna. Fashion is her playpen.”